Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Egypt - The Cradle of Civilization -- Part 2
What really bothers us Egyptians is the misperception that many Westerners have about life in Egypt. Many in the West still believe that we ride camels everyday to work and live in tents in the desert. Whenever Egypt is mentioned in the Western media, we almost always see a picture of the pyramids and a few Bedouins (desert dwellers) around it.
This is far from the truth. Cairo is a humongous city of 20 million people that literally has everything in it from a Rolls Royce dealership shop to the donkeys' market. It is a very rich and also a very poor city. There are areas where you can find the finest and the most extravagant 5 stars hotels and areas that contains the most miserable slums. You can also find a dirty donkey cart walking side by side with the latest Mercedes or Jaguar. I guess this is so typical in any developing country where there is a huge income gap between the rich and poor.
Apart from the pollution and annoying taxi drivers, tourists love everything in Cairo because it is so different than what they are accustomed to. They visit the pyramids, the Egyptian museum, the city's Islamic district, and the several old churches dating back to the 4th century. Foreigners tend to enjoy Egyptian food because it is so different and exotic to them (besides it being very tasty of course!). However, those who are afraid to put "alien food" into their stomachs resort to standards such as McDonalds or Pizza Hut.
There are 2 main types of tourism in Egypt: cultural and entertainment. Those seeking to know about the culture and history of Egypt tend to visit Cairo and 2 main southern cities called Luxor and Aswan. Those who want some entertainment and glorious diving experiences tend to go to the Red Sea and the Sinai area. Millions of Italians, Germans, and Russians flock to Sinai's resort every year because, unlike Europe, Egypt is considered a very affordable holiday destination.